A charming story of love, warmth, and the hope of Spring.
Cordelia has come to Rome for the Christmas holidays with dreams of a different life, but she finds that her loneliness and her embarrassment about her weight follow her. Just as she is giving up all hope, she meets Frank, a man with a terribly scarred face and an equally wounded soul.
As their friendship grows and becomes something more, their tentative movements toward each other begin the slow process of healing their lives. Together, they learn how to escape from cold isolation and leave their personal winters behind.
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Catching her toe on a loose tile, Cordelia fell into the pew and burst into tears. She was so clumsy. So useless. Her sisters were right. Every single thing she had read in their e-mails this morning was true. She tried muffling her sobs with a fistful of tissues. At least no one was witnessing her humiliation--except for that man in the back. Dashing past him, she had seen the long scar and puckered skin of his face. Deformed, like her. A freak, like her. She wondered if he, too, avoided mirrors. She wished she had never passed that shop, had never glanced at its darkened window and seen her silhouette looking back. After the e-mails, it was too much. Why had she ever thought she'd be different here in Rome? She whipped off her scarf and crumpled it in her fist. "Damn, damn, da--" She glanced at the altar apologetically. The golden rays shimmering around the Madonna seemed to mock her as they fanned out from the altar. This city's rich history had tricked her into thinking she could shed her own history--one of solitude, of rejection. She had had visions of becoming miraculously elegant the moment she left Chicago. She would be draped in scarves, trailing whiffs of perfume. She would look almost--but not quite--untouchable like the Madonna over the altar, instead of .... Leaning back, she eyed the ceiling. Instead of like those fat little cherubs with their dimpled arms and legs. Cordelia took a deep breath, the air catching in her throat like a sob. She wiped her eyes before looking around. It was the smallest church she had visited so far, but cozy and inviting, not cramped. The warmth of the old wooden pews provided a welcome sensation in contrast to the cold marble pillars. Wanting to pull that warmth inside, she stroked the deep, rich wood which seemed to hold within it the prayers, dreams, and fears of all the heart-weary who had sat in this very pew over the centuries. Its immutable smoothness soothed her. One change after another had wrenched her life in the past few years. After only six months of sharing an apartment with a friend, Cordelia had moved back home when her mother had a stroke. The cancer wasn't discovered until later. Needing flexible hours, Cordelia changed her position at the publisher's so she could work from home. To her surprise--and her boss's delight--she excelled at editing. Even there, though, she was fixing things for other people to get the glory. Sometimes she felt like a photocopy of a person. Or a negative--necessary for the photograph, but useless on its own. Her life was a darkroom. Cold and dark. She had nursed her mother until the end--then her father, who had faded, day by day, after her mother's death. She had somehow become the caretaker of the family and the free babysitter for all her nieces and nephews. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Actually, not even that. "Of course I'd love to have you as a bridesmaid," Jennifer had said, "but you'd hate the dresses. They're a little too slinky for you. And yellow is definitely not your color." It wasn't the yellow. It was the slinky. Fat sisters not welcome. If only she were different! Maybe she would have been elegant if she had been called Heather or Lisa. Then she'd be blonde and thin and beautiful. Like her aunt had been. Like her sisters. But she took after Mom's side of the family, so she couldn't really blame Jennifer. Jen had had a beautiful, storybook wedding, and Cordelia would have ruined it. She had known that since the day of Rose's Senior Prom. Awed by her sister's dress and hair and shoes, Cordelia had said that when she grew up, she'd be beautiful like that and wear a beautiful gown to the ball. Just like Rose. "It's not going to happen, Cordy," Rose had said, turning her little sister to the mirror. "Look at yourself. You'll never be like us." Until that moment, Cordelia hadn't realized she was ugly. And she had never forgotten the lesson of that day. The warm scent of incense hung in the air. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. She could see one and smell the other, but where was the myrrh? Or was it the same as frankincense? Sighing, she stroked the wood again. What difference did it make? She hadn't come to Rome bearing the gifts of the Magi. She had come, selfishly, hoping to receive. Something. Anything. Not very Christmasy, but better than being at home.
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Book Description Silver Lake Publishing, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111931095736
Book Description Silver Lake Pub, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1931095736